While the main focus of your dentist is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, did you know that they can also improve the look of your smile? In fact, your dentist offers something called cosmetic dentistry, which is the combination of dental science and visual aesthetics. In a nutshell, cosmetic dentistry restores decayed, damaged, or missing teeth in order to improve their function and appearance.
However, cosmetic dentistry is not only for decayed, damaged, or missing teeth. It can also be used on teeth that are stained, oddly shaped, unevenly sized, overlapping, or that have gaps in between them. Because of its versatility, cosmetic dentistry is a popular choice among individuals who are not happy with the look of their smile.
Depending on the specific cosmetic concerns, there are various cosmetic dental procedures that may be recommended by your dentist. Some treatments focus on a single cosmetic concern, while others address multiple concerns. Out of all the cosmetic procedures, here are the top 5 most common cosmetic dental treatments:
For Minor Imperfections
To correct minor imperfections, such as small to medium areas of decay or damage, composite fillings are used. Composite fillings use dental composite resin to fill in an area of damage or decay. Composite resin is used because it is able to bond to the natural tooth structure and can be customized in terms of color and shape so that it is indistinguishable from the natural tooth. In addition to dental fillings, composite resin can also be used to repair minor chips and cracks using a technique called composite bonding.
For Larger Imperfections
To correct larger imperfections, such as areas of damage or decay that cover more than half the tooth, dental crowns are commonly used. They are also used in cases where adjustments need to be made to the shape, size, or color of a tooth. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over the entire visible portion of the tooth. They are customized to blend in with the surrounding teeth and have a highly natural appearance while also protecting the underlying natural tooth. Multiple dental crowns can also be fused together with fake teeth in order to create a dental bridge that can be used to replace one or more missing teeth.
When it comes to versatility and flexibility, dental veneers are the most popular cosmetic dental treatment. Dental veneers are thin shells that are adhered to the front surface of visible teeth. They can be fabricated from composite resin or porcelain, although porcelain is generally recommended since it has more benefits. They can be used to conceal multiple cosmetic issues such as teeth that are damaged, discolored, unevenly sized, oddly shaped, overlapping, or that have gaps in between them. With veneers, you also have the option of fixing a single tooth or an entire smile.
For Minimally-Invasive Treatments
Teeth whitening procedures are the most popular option among people who are looking for an easy, minimally invasive way to improve the look of their smile. Whitening procedures can be completed in a single dental appointment, can whiten teeth by approximately 5-10 shades, and are highly affordable. During a whitening treatment, a whitener is applied to the surface of the teeth. This whitener is then absorbed into the tooth, where it breaks apart the discolored molecules responsible for stains. Although teeth whitening procedures only improve the color of your teeth, simply brightening your smile can make a huge difference.
For Missing Teeth
When it comes to replacing one or more missing teeth, dental implants are highly recommended by many dentists. This is because dental implants offer an aesthetic option that is also able to restore the greatest degree of function. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from titanium screws that are implanted into the jawbone. As they heal, they fuse with the surrounding bone in order to anchor a dental prosthetic such as a crown, bridge, or denture. Using dental implants, you can replace a single tooth, as well as an entire mouthful of teeth.
Dr. Martin is a highly skilled dentist of 16 years, and a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. During this time, he has placed over 500 implants and maintains his skills by taking more CE courses than required by the State Board each year.